How to Search For and Add Sound to Text User Guide
- Highlight the portion of text to which you would like to add sound. You can highlight the text by clicking and dragging on the area of desired text.
- When you let go, the track selection screen will appear. You can select the type of sound, “music,” “ambience,” or “effect.”
Music - Adds emotion and atmosphere to the text. If the emotion of the music doesn't match what the story is conveying the reader will have problems understanding the tone of your story. When choosing a music cue I try to find something that is subtle in its dynamics and not too 'in your face'. Also I look for something that fits the vibe of the text. For example an action scene would need something driving and determined sounding (like you would hear in a high action movie like 'transformers') a horror scene would need something slow and eerie and tense. Try finding a composer you like and use various pieces from them. Each composer has a unique style that would make it feel cohesive. If a particular track has a composer, his/her name will be listed under the name of the track in the Track Selection tool. You can search by a composer's name to bring up all the tracks they have in any given category. If you can’t find the right composer, keep searching for other tracks with a similar vibe or feel.
Ambience - Instantly lets the reader know where the scene is set. This works great for nature scenes for examples forests, beaches, suburban street etc. Try to pick ambience where individual sounds aren't too obvious. For instance, if you had a party scene, you wouldn't want to pick an ambience where an individual's voice / conversation is too easily heard as it would distract the reader from the text. Try to mix ambience at a medium volume that blends well with the music.
Sound Effects - Enhance the actions happening within the text. These can be nice and subtle for example: writing with a pen, sitting on a couch, footsteps walking, or be intense for example explosions, earthquakes, doors slamming. My best advice for sound effects is to use what works. If a sound isn't convincing or obvious I would leave it out rather than have something that could be distracting. It is also beneficial to take your time to find the right sound effect to fit the environment your scene is set in. For example, footsteps in a cave or large stone room would sound different to footsteps in a house / room. Searching for words like "Reverb", "Echo" or "distant" can help find sounds that feel like they are further away that can be helpful. Fading in effects is a good way to make them appear smoothly without taking you by surprise. For sound effects, we usually recommend adding a short fade (1 - 2 seconds) just to ensure the effect doesn't cut off abruptly. If the effect you added seems to start to quickly, increase the fade in time to smooth the transition. Keep in mind that this works well for longer sound effects like footsteps, but not for short effects like gun blasts. We generally like longer fade in/outs for ambiences and music. When you are moving from scene to scene and changing audio, overlapping the sounds with long fades works well.
- To narrow to your search, select the “emotion,” “genre,” and “style” that will complement your text. Be creative when you are using the search functionality in the Track Selection tool to find that perfect sound. It might be hard to find a polar bear roar, but a dragon roar might work perfectly. Using the effect of "Glass Cup Water" (the sound of a glass being set down on a table) as the sound effect for someone grasping the handle of an axe is another example. Even if it's not the most conventional idea, if a sound works for your story you should use it! If all else fails, mix a few sounds together to create the sound you're aiming for. This works well for ambiences as well as sounds.
- You can preview tracks by clicking the blue arrow.
- When you have decided on a track, click “select.”
Note: You can increase or decrease the fade in and fade out time. If your sound plays for longer than the region, increase the fade out time so it is not an abrupt cut off of the sound.
- You can overlap music, ambient sounds, and effects to create the perfect soundtrack for your text. Always extend the regions slightly longer than you expect the sound will play for, unless you want to cut the sound off at an exact point. This allows the whole sound to be played, even at a higher reading speed.
- Try to keep your mixes at an average volume. This is just a safety net so you don't distract the reader from the story. Having a short sound that is higher to emphasize a point is fine, but having every sound play at high volume can be distracting to the reader. You can adjust the volume level for each sound you add.